State Facesstate.ie names its artists to look out for in the 12 months flowing from January each year, and accompanied by original photoshoots from our team of photographers.
Electronic pop duo from Tipperary.
We’re both from the same town (Nenagh) and were part of separate bands (Laura in previous State Faces Staring At Lakes, Joe in Floating Ballroom) and projects long before we decided to start working together. We’d always liked each other’s music and ideas and had talked about doing something together for a while before we finally bit the bullet and went for it. Initially, we worked on one song together, with Joe sending on a fully realised track and me adding lyrics and melody to it. I don’t think there were really any plans to go further than one track, but it worked well and came so naturally to us as a pair that we decided to go for it and start Kyoto Love Hotel.
(Laura) I think for me, I’d been very used to playing and singing in a full band sort of environment- guitars, bass, drums, piano- that kind of thing. I enjoyed it, but after taking a break from playing for a while I was keen to sing and write with music that was totally different to that. Lyrically, that change in style helped me to expand what I wanted to talk about. I liked the idea of exploring intimate, personal ideas through words but setting that against atmospheric pop music that you can move to and have fun with, and that’s what Joe’s music does.
(Joe) I was always in indie bands growing up and then during college I became more engrossed in the electronic side of music. Laura’s lyrics and melodies definitely helped create a style of music which I had not made before. I feel like I’m moving more away from my previous projects each time I’m in the studio working on new material.
Yeah, I suppose there are two elements to the name. When you think of Kyoto, you think of a colourful Japanese city, full of movement and life, and then when you hear the words Love Hotel, your mind is taken to something a bit more private, a bit more secret. That’s exactly what we wanted to do with the music really. Have all that wide-reaching movement and atmosphere layered on top and fill it with something that represents the more intimate, interior aspects of people’s lives. Kyoto itself is different to some bigger cities in that it’s full of history and cultural traditions, with gorgeous gardens and temples and we wanted to reflect that too. Joe spent some time there last year and collected lovely samples of daily life that we hope give the songs a sort of nostalgic feel- the background noise heard travelling on a train, the sounds of people conversing, the sounds of a musician drumming on the street- these all feature subtly in the music.
We want to evoke the atmosphere of a city- a space filled with noise and motion and nature and obstructions to that nature. From an exterior point of view, a city is made up of all of this- it is fast paced and frantic, and sometimes hard to find your place in. From an interior point of view however, it is filled with the rhythms of people’s individual thoughts and emotions and connections with one another. We want to meld these ideas together and create an atmosphere that reflects all this.
We’re thrilled with the response. It’s been great to get Irish support from the likes of yourselves because it really encourages you to keep going creatively and try to do more. It can be hard to admit that most of us have that very human need for approval but who doesn’t like hearing that what they’re doing works?! Having the latest single premiered on Clash Magazine and being selected for Ireland Music Week was brilliant. We’d love to reach as many people as possible both here and across the water. We’re very excited to share our debut EP in early 2020.